George Dimitrios Koulaxes
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George Dimitrios Koulaxes
  • March 4, 1928 - December 12, 2017
  • San Diego, California

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George Dimitrios Koulaxes March 4, 1928 - December 12, 2017 San Diego George Dimitrios Koulaxes passed away peacefully in his home in Del Mar, California, surrounded by his loving family. He was a man of many interests, but held a singular, lifelong passion. That passion was his reverence for Hellenism as the basis of Western civilization; the formula for individual exceptionalism; and the direct path to the joy of life. Like so many other first-generation Greek Americans, George was a product of his father's odyssey of coming to America from Asia Minor. Born in Chicago on the eve of America's Great Depression, George moved to San Diego with his family when he was 13 years old. They joined the community of Greek American families and were founding members of St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church on Park Blvd. George clearly recalled those days when the San Diego Greek community, including the women of Philoptochos "Anthousa" took on the immense task of helping relatives in Greece cope with their Italian invaders and later worked hard in support of America's war effort. In 1943, he proudly enlisted in the U.S. Army/Air Corps to serve in World War II before returning to his beloved San Diego after completing his military service. In 1949, George attended San Diego Community College but was destined to move on to graduate from Stanford University as a mechanical engineer. His interests drove him to join General Dynamics Corporation, culminating as Manager of Reliability and Quality Engineering where he worked on the Centaur missile system and other highly classified programs. After his retirement from the space program, George founded and ran the National Engineers Professional Association, an affiliate of the United Auto Workers. He completed his professional life as general manager of Tommy's Hamburgers, a Los Angeles-based fast food establishment founded by his cousin, Tommy Koulax where he was instrumental in expanding the already successful chain. Throughout his professional life, George considered his primary mission was to learn all he could about Hellenism and further teach those around him what he had learned. George had been a part of our St. Spyridon community for over 76 years and he never forgot his Hellenic roots. He served on the St. Spyridon Parish Council for six years, 1963-1968, serving as President in 1967-68. George was recently awarded the 2013 Philopthochos Anthousa Award, celebrating his spirit of philanthropy.A life member of AHEPA, George served it in many capacities, from Chapter President to District Governor and was elected to the national Chairmanship of five Supreme AHEPA Conventions. He was as comfortable around heads of state as he was among kitchen staff cooking burgers. He represented AHEPA to Patriarch Athenagoras I and, because of his extensive knowledge of protocol, was AHEPA's representative meeting with King Constantine II of Greece. George also had a close friendship with Archbishop Makarios III, first President of Cyprus. In 1965, George and some friends discussed ways to preserve the Hellenist culture in America. This resulted in the founding of the Hellenic Cultural Society of San Diego later that year. Fifty years later, the Society became an affiliate of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and along with the Greek community of San Diego helped create three endowed chairs in Ancient, Byzantine and Modern Greek History. George is survived by his wife and companion for over 45 years, Mary Koulaxes; daughters Roxanne (David) Waasted, and Alexia (Paul) Anas; grandchildren Clinton Waasted, Jacob (Tiffany) Waasted, Andrea (Peter) Harnish, Athan Anas, and Alexander Anas; 4 great-grandchildren as well as several nieces, nephews and godson, Matthew Duncan. Services will be held as follows: Viewing will be on Thursday evening, December 21, 2017, at El Camino Mortuary/Cemetery Chapel, 5600 Carroll Canyon Road, San Diego, CA 92121, starting at 6 p.m. with the Memorial Service at 7 p.m.The Funeral Service will be held on Friday, December 22 at 10 a.m. at St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church, 3655 Park Boulevard, San Diego, California 92103.In lieu of flowers, donations in honor of George Koulaxes can be mailed to the Hellenic Cultural Society, P.O. Box 502315, San Diego, CA 92150. For more information or the ability to leave a message of condolences to the family go to the website www.dignitymemorial.com.